Kobe City, the town that needs no introduction! If you’re planning a visit to this romantic port city and you’re thinking about adding some pizzazz to your trip beyond just indulging in mouthwatering Kobe Beef teppanyaki, you’re in for a real treat!

Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond is here to light up your day (and especially your night) with an artistic extravaganza.

From Aug 26 to Nov 23, Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond is happening on Mount Rokko, Kobe’s highest peak which is famous for its “10 million dollar night view”.

Rokko Meets Art is an annual contemporary art festival held every autumn since 2010, where visitors can go on an art walk to appreciate modern art spread around the serene setting of Mt Rokko’s beautiful nature.

This time around, the theme is “Beyond Representation.” It’s their 14th go at it, and they’ve gone all out with more artists from both Japan and overseas. They’ve even put in a new trail area to surprise returning visitors and made sure the kids have a blast with art.

I visited Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond in late September and spent a whole day exploring the wonderful festival, and here’s the scoop on what you need to know before you hit the scene!

Access and Tickets

Alrighty, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I kicked off my adventure from Tokyo, hopped on the shinkansen to Shin-Osaka, and then made my way to Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station.

At Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station, there’s this info counter (it says “駅長室” in Japanese – that’s “station master’s room” for you). They’ve got this nifty rail pass by Hanshin Railway called the”Rokko & Maya Leisure Ticket” for JPY 1950. (Note that there’s also a Hankyu Line version of the pass sold at JPY2100.)

It’s perfect if you’re thinking about conquering both Mount Rokko and Mount Maya (another boss peak in the Rokko mountain range).

This pass gets you round-trip tickets on all the Hanshin Lines, Kobe City bus rides (no.16, no.18 and no.2), a scenic ride on the Rokko Cable Car and the Maya View Line. Plus, you can hop on the Rokko Sanjo Bus and Rokko Maya Sky Shuttle Bus as many times as your heart desires.

Even if you are just making your way to the art festival, securing this rail pass will save you quite a bit than purchasing all the tickets separately!


For those of you who are more step-by-step types, here’s the lowdown on how to get to Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond.

Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station

My starting point is Hanshin Osaka-Umeda Station. Use one of the round trip train tickets and get on the Hanshin Line to Mikage Station.

Mikage Station

Things get really easy once you arrive at Mikage Station. You will exit the station, and there’s a bus stop right in front of the station.

You will see a sign that says “Rokko Cable Car-Shita” where Bus 16 will stop at. Get on using one of the round trip bus tickets, and ride it all the way to the final station (about 30 miniutes), “Rokko Cable Car-Shita”.

Rokko Cable Car

Now, as you arrive at Rokko Cable Shita Station, prepare to be greeted by an artsy surprise. There’s this staircase all dolled up for the occasion.

This is where you will meet the first art installation–a metal chimpanzee chilling on a bench, courtesy of artist Riku SUGAWARA. That’s your first taste of art on this wild adventure.

Take the scenic cable car up to Rokko Sanjo Station, and that’s where you can purchase the Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond passport.

If you prefer, online purchase is available with a small discount.But no worries, you can still snag one in person at the ticket office on the day of your adventure.

There are several types of passports you can consider, please refer to the official page for more details on the various types of passports here:



TENRAN CAFE & Observatory

The observatory at Rokko Sanjo Station treats you to a sweeping view of Kobe City, surrounded by the Seto Inland Sea – my favorite ocean! A quick note: it’s usually about 5°C cooler up here than in the city center.

I was there at the end of September on a sunny day. Let’s just say, I wasn’t dressed for the occasion. So, if you’re planning a late autumn visit, don’t forget to pack that extra layer! But hey, that cooler air makes Mount Rokko a perfect summer escape from the sweltering heat. Just a little something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about a summer trip to Kobe!


I threw on a lightweight robe and decided to munch down at TENRAN CAFE They’ve got some seasonal grub, and I went for the Yamamitsu curry from Mount Rokko (JPY 1,100), Rokko Miso Caramel Sauce and Homemade Daigakuimo Pancakes (you can score the drink set for JPY 1,350 or just the pancake for JPY 1,000).

If the weather’s playing nice, nab a spot on the terrace for a view that’ll knock your socks off – and keep your tummy happy at the same time!

Rokko Sanjo Bus

Alright, got your belly filled? Time to roll!

The art pieces are scattered around different corners of Mount Rokko. If you’re up for some serious legwork, you can hoof it, but if you’re all about saving time, hop on the bus. Your rail pass means you can ride the Rokko Sanjo Bus as much as you like – so go wild!

Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE

Now, you’ve probably heard of the music box museum that Mount Rokko’s famous for. But here’s the kicker: don’t snooze on the garden section – it’s even bigger and better than before!


“Peeking into the forest, The mountain hole.” by Misa FUNAI.

There’s art galore scattered across the garden. Some of it’s in-your-face artsy, while some of it’s so subtle, you’ll question if it’s art at all (spoiler: most of the time it is). It’s like art and nature are doing a little tango.

This elegant white dome is called “Moon Plants,” which snagged itself an award and was dreamed up by Yugo KONISHI (Tama plants).

“Exploring with the Yellow Binoculars” by WA!moto.“Motoka Watanabe”.

“Princess Dorian standing on the stone stage” by Nobuo MITSUNASHI.

In addition to this year’s art bonanza, you can find some permanent fixtures too. Like this super cute treehouse – it’s begging for a snapshot.

Spend sometime to just take in the sounds and sights of the forest garden.

This year, a special event is happening every weekend and public holidays at Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE called “Lighting Forest – Night Art Stroll”.

You’ll spot these little fruit bags decked out with hand-drawn smiley faces by students at elementary and junior high schools and children’s centers in Kobe City. Each bag represents someone important to each kid, and is called “Hikari no Mi” (Fruits of Light).

When the sun dips below the horizon, these “fruits” light up with colorful LEDs, turning the garden into a fairytale wonderland. Grab a hammock and let your senses soak it all in!

*NEW* Trail Area

This year, they’ve thrown in some fresh trails for you to explore – it’s like an adventure within an adventure.

One of my fav spots is this one – “Bridge and Terrace in Rokko, Kobe Japan” (yeah, super literal, I know), designed by Tadashi KAWAMATA.

“There is a scale ball here. “by Morinji.

Get ready to flex those creative muscles and be art yourself.

Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden

This spot is another art haven waiting to be explored. One of my top picks is “overflowing” by Miisa KATO.

Solid bubbles filled with water are placed in metal frames, each of them a different shape and sensation when touched or held. We had lots of fun inspecting each bubble and each of us had a favorite!

Come nighttime, the vibe completely transforms. You get to appreciate the art in a whole new light – literally!

Granite Café

I hit up Mount Rokko around noon and partied until the sun called it a day. When dinner time rolled around, we hopped on the bus and landed at Granite Café at Rokko Garden Terrace.

Here, you can chow down while gazing at Kobe’s nighttime dazzle. They’ve got this “Miso Gourmet” menu with “Rokko Miso-pickled Steak with Autumn Salad” (JPY 2,980). There are other drool-worthy dishes to try too, like Granite’s Special Sirloin Steak Set with Awaji Onion Sauce (JPY 2,980) and the Chef’s Choice Seafood Set of the Day (JPY 2,480).

Before I wrapped up the day, I stole one last glance at that jaw-dropping “10 million dollar night view” from the Lookout Terrace. As I left Mount Rokko, I thought to myself that this would be a place that I’d love to return again.

Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond happens until 23 Nov, 2023, so if you are in the Kansai Region, you wouldn’t want to miss out the opportunity to bask in Rokko’s wonders where modern aesthetics meet glorious nature.

For more info, visit Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond’s official home page below: